In Memoriam of Prof. Ibrahim Fadlallah (FDSP ‘63)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Esteemed Professor and Lawyer Ibrahim Fadlallah, a pillar of the Lebanese legal field, has passed away. Born in Zahlé in 1943, he gained international recognition as an outstanding jurist. His remarkable intellect, keen mind, and eloquence in writing and thought left a lasting impression on his peers and instructors during his years at the USJ Faculty of Law.

Throughout his academic journey, Ibrahim Fadlallah’s brilliance earned him top honors in civil law (1961), commercial law (1962), and private international law (1963). In 1964, Father Jean Ducruet, the then Chancellor of the Faculty, wrote to Dean Georges Vedel, praising Fadlallah’s exceptional achievements: “Mr. Ibrahim Fadlallah passed all four sessions of his French law degree exams with honors, and his Lebanese law degree exams with similar marks. A valedictorian in both sections, he is the most brilliant student the Beirut Faculty of Law has had in many years.”

Ibrahim Fadlallah continued his academic pursuits with postgraduate studies in private law and criminal sciences in Paris. This journey culminated in a highly acclaimed doctoral thesis on “The legitimate family in private international law.” The thesis, which won the Prix Julliot de la Morandière, was published by Dalloz in 1975.

Between 1966 and 1972, Prof. Fadlallah served as an assistant at the Faculty of Law in Paris and later at the University of Paris II. Subsequently, he was appointed as a lecturer at the Faculty of Law and Political Science in Dijon. The pivotal moment that solidified his legendary status occurred during the agrégation competitive examination in 1975. Despite applying as a foreigner, he secured the top position, surpassing even the highest-ranking French candidate.

Initially based in Dijon, Prof. Fadlallah transitioned to the University of Paris X Nanterre two years later. During his tenure, from 1986 to 1998, he led the DEA in private law. Since 2002, he has held the distinguished title of Professor Emeritus.

Prof. Fadlallah’s extensive publications reflect the breadth and depth of his scholarly contributions. Spanning from his groundbreaking thesis in 1975 to the 2019 co-edited book with Dominique Hasher on “Les grandes décisions du droit de l’arbitrage commercial,” and including notable works like the 1994 Hague course on “L’ordre public dans les sentences arbitrales,” columns in the Dalloz encyclopedia, and numerous papers, articles, and case notes, his intellectual influence extends across diverse legal domains. These include private international family law, international trade law, arbitration law, investment law, civil procedure law, civil law, and notarial law.

Despite the progression of his academic career in France, Prof. Fadlallah maintained a strong connection to his alma mater, the USJ Faculty of Law. He frequently returned to impart lectures and participate in conferences, underscoring his ongoing commitment to academic collaboration.

As a legislator, Ibrahim Fadlallah chaired the committee responsible for drafting the Lebanese Code of Civil Procedure in 1983. Additionally, he served as the coordinator of the Lebanese Commission for the Reform of Codes and Laws from 1983 to 1988. His contributions extended globally as he represented Lebanon as an expert delegate at The Hague Conference on Private International Law, participating in the negotiation of various treaties. Furthermore, he held memberships in esteemed organizations, such as the Institut de droit international, the Comité français de l’arbitrage, and the ICC International Court of Arbitration. Ibrahim Fadlallah also assumed the position of Vice-Chairman of the ICC Commission on International Arbitration and played a pivotal role as a founding member of several learned societies.

Given his illustrious professional career, it comes as no surprise that Ibrahim Fadlallah received numerous distinctions. Notably, he was named Chevalier des Palmes académiques and earned the Prix Choucri Cardahi from the Académie des sciences morales et politiques in 1997. Moreover, he was honored with the Golden Award for Arbitrator of the Year in 2007.

However, Ibrahim Fadlallah’s influence transcends his professional achievements. As an academic and practitioner, he embodied a rich personality characterized by authority, strength, humanism, culture, and compassion. His actions served as a source of inspiration for all fortunate enough to cross his path.

Ibrahim Fadlallah has departed, leaving a community in mourning yet filled with pride and admiration for the legacy he leaves behind.

Read also in French: In memoriam Ibrahim Fadlallah